Monday, September 28, 2009

BCS: Oklahoma--The Original Ohio State

In recent years, I have been surprised by how the college football world has turned on Ohio State and placed them in a catagory of their own. After the first national championship game loss to Florida following the 2006 season, Ohio State was only put in the same game the next year against another SEC team because no one else in the automatic qualifying conferences had one loss. After LSU beat Ohio State that year Ohio State was black listed and cries were being made that even an undefeated Ohio State should not be considered for the national championship game implying they had lost the privilege. The next year came, 2008, and Ohio State was overwhelmingly beat by USC early in the year (no one seemed to care that Chris Wells, Ohio State's star running back was injured) and the Buckeye's were further tarnished, as well as completely eliminated from the national championship, even if they won the rest of their games. As I witnessed all of this happening, I wondered why Ohio State was judged so harshly, even when they were not the first to disappoint in BCS championship games, and had a better historical record in BCS games than another team: Oklahoma. Oklahoma has been some what of a teflon team. Consider the following results:

  1. 2003--Oklahoma was obliterated by Kansas State in the Big 12 Championship game 35-7, yet somehow, they remained in the top 2 of the BCS rankings. USC was number 1 in both the AP poll and the USA Today (Coaches) poll, but they did not play for the national championship. Oklahoma went on to lose to LSU in the national championship game.
  2. 2004--Oklahoma was one of three undefeated teams (USC and Auburn were the others) from the "Big Six" conferences. Again, Oklahoma qualified to play in the national championship game. This year, Oklahoma lost 55-19 in the national championship game leaving everyone wishing undefeated Auburn had gotten the chance to play USC instead.
  3. 2006--Oklahoma was playing Boise State in the Fiesta Bowl. This marked the first time that a team from outside the "Big Six" conferences was playing a recognized national power in a BCS bowl game. (Utah's opponent in the 2004 Fiesta Bowl--Pittsburgh--was no where near elite status.) The BCS now had its chance to legitimize its witholding automatic qualification to conference champions outside the "Big Six" conferences. Rather than carrying the BCS banner proudly, Oklahoma lost to Boise State.
  4. 2007--Playing a West Virginia team that did not have its head coach (Rich Rodriguez had already left to start coaching Michigan) and that had lost embarassingly to Pittsburgh in the last game of the season, Oklahoma played its way to a 20 point loss.
  5. 2008--Oklahoma lost to Texas in the regular season. At the end of the year, despite identical win-loss records, Oklahoma held a higher BCS ranking and qualified for the Big 12 Championship game, which they won, and that win propelled Oklahoma into the BCS championship game over the team that had beaten them, as well as a slew of other one-loss teams that could argue they deserved to play in the championship game. Continuing their trend, Oklahoma lost to Florida.
  6. 2009--Now to start this year, Oklahoma became the first team ranked in the top 5 to lose to a team outside the "Big Six" conferences when it lost to BYU.

Does it seem fair to anyone that Oklahoma's failures have not blighted their perception, whereas Ohio State's failures have? The worst part of it all is that Oklahoma usually has been surrounded by controversy as to whether it should be in these games. Nevertheless, they could not win to silence their detractors. Ohio State on the other hand, was undefeated and had beated two teams during the season that were ranked number 2 when they played in 2006, and, as previously noted, Ohio State had the best record in the nation in 2007. In 2008, when most teams were being criticized for scheduling weak non-conference opponents, Ohio State went on the road against a top 5 team, without the heart and soul of their offense. To clarify, my point is that if we want to be so harsh on Ohio State (I don't disagree that Ohio State should be handicapped for their recent blunders) we have to be just as harsh, or harsher on Oklahoma. Furthermore, teams outside the "Big Six" conferences are expected to go undefeated just to play in a BCS bowl; the BCS championship game isn't even an option. Judging by past performance, everyone needs to seriously question: does an undefeated Oklahoma deserves to be in the national title game? In my judgment, Oklahoma should be disqualified from playing in the BCS championship game, and Oklahoma should have to go undefeated to play in one of the other BCS bowl games. Under that condition, Oklahoma can restore the privilege of playing in the national championship game by posting a winning record in its next 5 BCS bowl games. The point is, if the College Football world is going to establish a judgment system for the BCS and its National Championship game then the whole College Football world needs to be put through the same judgment process.


  1. I hate both OSU and Oklahoma. They both get way too much national coverage and they both choke way too much in big games. I think that we're forced to deal with them because they are the flagship programs (alongside Texas for Oklahoma) of their allegedly prestigious conferences. In actuality, there is a lot of mediocrity in both the Big 10 and Big 12.

    I think that I hate OSU more than OU, because at least Oklahoma gave us the most exciting loss in my lifetime when they lost to Boise State in the Fiesta Bowl.

  2. Fair representation of quality play is one flaw in college football. It is a constant fight against history and the masses. Whoever has more historical success and a bigger fan base is given preference in many ways: rankings, BCS appearances, television coverage. I would agree that Oklahoma and Ohio State are products of this system.